One helpful way to understand quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia) is to think of your body like a ‘country’, and its nerves as ‘roads’. Just like highways allow for transportation of goods from one location to another, the body’s nerves allow information and instructions to be sent from one area of the body to another. In this analogy, small bundles of nerves in the arms, legs, and brain are like ‘local’ roads in individual ‘states’, and the spinal cord is like an interstate. Just like an interstate road is necessary for commerce and transportation between states, the spinal cord is necessary for communication between the arms and legs and the brain.
Quadriplegia often originates from an injury to the upper back- resulting from a gunshot, car accident, fall, sporting accident, or other trauma-that damages the spinal cord and, in effect, ‘cuts off’ communication between the brain and other part so the body. This results in a loss of motion, sensation, and function in the extremities, and often affects the bowels, as well.
When an individual suffers such an injury, their life, as well as the lives of everyone close to them, are altered forever.
New considerations must be taken into account, such as:
- Making up for lost income long-term
- Keeping up with ever-mounting medical bills
- Bladder and bowel management
- The necessity for round-the-clock nursing personnel
- Frequent doctor’s visits
- Assistive equipment like lifts and hospital beds
- Home renovations-such as ramps and other handicap accessible amenities
Worse, their body image and sense of self-worth can become an infinite struggle. They may feel a sense of chronic guilt or embarrassment as they watch family members become caregivers and struggle to fill this new and difficult role.
When quadriplegia is caused by more than just an ‘accident’ and another party is at fault, you and your family may be entitled to compensation. While monetary compensation cannot buy back your health and mobility, it could help to cover medical expenses, important equipment, like wheelchairs and bed lifts, lost income for the family, and helpful home renovations. Don’t wait. Your family doesn’t have to deal with this alone. Call Zimmerman & Frachtman today to see how we can help.